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Recipe for success! Chef video stirs up players

18 February, 2021 — By Catherine Etoe

Emma Hayes was named top boss for January

CHELSEA cooked up a storm with a tasty 5-0 win over Bristol City that was inspired by Fran Kirby and an award-winning female chef.

Head coach Emma Hayes was looking for a reaction from her team after their 2-1 loss to Brighton on February 7 – their first defeat in 33 Women’s Super League matches.

She got it with a 3-0 win over Arsenal in midweek that effectively ended the Gunners’ title hopes. But the cherry on top was a five-star performance against Bristol on Sunday that extended the Blues’ lead at the top of the table.

Afterwards, former Parliament Hill School pupil Hayes – who was this week named Barclays FA WSL Manager of the Month for January after leading her side to four league victories – revealed how she had shown a motivational video of Michelin-starred chef Clare Smyth to help keep her players on track.

“[Smyth] talks about the unrivalled service that you need working in a kitchen and the demands that go with it,” Hayes explained.

“But the most important thing I asked them to reflect on was that it’s not about the amount of mistakes you make in a kitchen, it’s about how you handle those mistakes. And that’s what I have in the dressing room, I have a group of players that handle setbacks.

“And that’s all that I ask and that’s all that I’ve ever cultivated since I’ve been here. There’s no secret to it, it’s an environment where consistency matters, and if you behave the same way, every day, then the chances of producing a performance stays high. That’s probably what I’ve learnt the most over my career.”

Four players served up the goals against the Robins, Kirby leading the way with a brace, while Pernille Harder, Sam Kerr and Beth England also hit the target.

• Arsenal defender Jen Beattie was deemed fit enough to join up with her Scotland teammates at the start of the international break this week.

A frozen pitch on Sunday meant, however, that she did not get a runout beforehand as the Gunners’ tie against Aston Villa was called off.

Fans can catch both of Scotland’s Euro qualifiers on BBC Alba, starting with Cyprus on Friday at 1pm, then Portugal on Tuesday at 3pm. England’s friendly with Northern Ireland, their first official match in almost a year, is on the BBC Red Button on Tuesday at 12.30pm.

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